Columbia College: The Titans of the West Prepare for the World Stage

Columbia College Road to Worlds header with images of cam, CosmicFlippy, and Cryptic

An Incredible Performance

The Columbia College Rocket League team have had an outstanding Spring 2022 season so far. They tore through Western League Play with a 15-0 record, losing only five individual games along the way. This sent Columbia College to the Western Conference Playoffs, where they placed first and qualified for both the North American Championship and the CRL World Championship. In the NA Championship, their seeding granted them a place in the Upper Semi-Finals where they faced Stockton. Stockton knocked Columbia down to the lower bracket in a close 4-3 game.

This loss fueled Columbia and motivated them to win every series in the lower bracket. This included their rematch against Stockton in the Lower Bracket Final to secure their spot against Northwood Blue in the Grand Final. Columbia then proceeded to wipe the floor with Northwood in the first Bo7 of the Grand Final, sweeping them 4-0. However, they needed to beat Northwood in another Bo7 to declare themselves #1 in North America. Unfortunately for Columbia College, Northwood found their footing after their first loss and kept it close in the bracket reset, ultimately winning the series 4-3 despite Columbia’s best efforts. 

New Recruits

Columbia College now have the chance to redeem themselves against Northwood Blue on the world stage, with the added possibility of earning the title of #1 CRL team in the world. “Cryptic,” “Cam.,” and “CosmicFlippy” have been training meticulously for the World Championship. I had the chance to ask Kai “CosmicFlippy” Hickey first hand about his team and their training regimen. I asked CosmicFlippy how he and his teammates met, to which he responded: “We all met over last summer when our coach Shockley recruited all of us. We started doing scrims and entering tournaments once we found out we were teaming together.” Columbia College have achieved an impressive record in a short amount of time, and they continue to improve with each season. Their team chemistry is on par or better than many other teams who’ve been competing together for much longer. 

Columbia College Rocket League Players standing in front of lockers
The Spring 2022 Columbia College Rocket League Roster. Left to Right: cam., Cryptic, and CosmicFlippy

Facing Northwood

I then asked CosmicFlippy what he believes to be Columbia’s greatest accomplishment so far this season. He told me: “Our biggest accomplishment would have to be getting 2nd place nationally, as well as being (I think) the only team to ever sweep Northwood in a bo7 with Lionblaze.” Sweeping a team that is widely considered the best team in North America is certainly grounds for celebration, and a 2nd place finish in NA only adds to Columbia’s credibility. 

In addition to Columbia College’s biggest achievement this season, I also wanted to know what their biggest challenge has been. Flippy said: “Our biggest challenge has been trying to face Northwood as a team. They’re a team of semi-pros and a pro and it’s made it very difficult to overcome.” Facing pros/semi-pros as a college-level team does seem like it could be frustrating, but based on Columbia’s performance in the NA Grand Finals, it seems like CC is up for the challenge. Columbia College will not meet Northwood in the group stage, but there is a chance they rematch in the playoffs.

Next, I wanted to know what the Columbia College Rocket League team is doing before the World Championship. Flippy told me: “To prepare for Worlds we are constantly scrimming and going over our games to make sure we’re at the top of our game.” Scrimming and replay reviews are the two most important aspects of improvement for both college and pro-level teams. It’s great that they’re incorporating these proven methods into their training.

Closing Remarks

Our conversation was coming to a close, but I wanted to ask Flippy a couple more questions before we finished. First, I asked him if Columbia College had any exciting news to share for the future of their program. He told me that they will field a Valorant team next semester. This new team will bring fresh talent to the CC esports roster and bolster their status as a top program. 

Finally, I asked CosmicFlippy if he could share any fun facts about his team or Columbia’s esports program. He said: “We are one of the few programs in the nation to have an academic support person on staff for esports.” This is an important and often overlooked aspect of collegiate esports that more programs should implement. College students that compete in both traditional sports and esports should be encouraged to balance school with extracurriculars. Finding harmony between academic performance and team commitments ensures the athlete’s success in all aspects of college.

It seems like Columbia College will be well prepared for the World Championship, and I’m excited for them. They continue to improve with every tournament they play in, and I’m sure the growth will continue. Good luck to Columbia College – I know you will put your all into Worlds and show why you’re one of the top teams in NA!

Follow the Action

Columbia College begins Worlds with a Group Stage Best-of-5 against University of Hamburg. Watch it on the College Carball Twitch on June 3 at 1 p.m. CT (6 p.m. UTC).

Match results and brackets will be posted on both the College Carball Twitter and the Rocket League Esports Twitter.

Check out the schedule so you don’t miss a beat!

Jacob Lormor

Jacob Lormor